Jason Caldwell

Jason Caldwell's Inside the Auburn Tigers Friday Mailbag Column: Defensive Line A Focus

A variety of subjects are featured as the Auburn football team prepares to take on the visiting Ole Miss Rebels.

Carl Lawson (above) is a redshirt sophomore for the Auburn defense.

AuburnNinja: Do you think Lawson plays this Saturday? If so, how much of an impact do you expect him to have on the game?

I think Carl Lawson will play at least a few snaps on Saturday, probably more on third down passing situations. I can’t imagine Lawson being ready to play every down against the Rebels, but if anyone can do it Lawson is the guy because of his commitment to his conditioning and his desire to play this game.


bigplayer2404: How do you see our DL/DE recruiting shaking out at the end of the day. I know it is still early, but curious what your gut feel is.

Right now the Tigers have three defensive linemen committed in Marlon Davidson, Daquan Newkirk and Tashawn Manning. That’s a good start and with probably eight spots in this class there are still a whole lot of guys left on the board. My gut feeling is this is going to be a really good class. The Tigers have a strong possibility of adding David Marshall on Friday, which gives you half the class already.

A name to keep an eye on in this class is juco defensive end Paul James out of Copiah-Lincoln in Mississippi. Leaving Illinois this year after playing as a freshman, he’s a guy to watch. He is a talented player and cousin of Carlton Davis.


Tiger82: Did Gray King earn a spot in the rotation? How do you thing we match up against Ole Miss?

I think King could be a guy that continues to get some playing time in special situations, especially if Stanton Truitt is out for an extended period of time. That’s still to be determined after hurting his shoulder again. As for matching up against Ole Miss, I think this Auburn team matches up fine with the Rebels with the exception of the defensive front. If Lawson can be close to his old self it would help immensely because the Tigers must get pressure on Chad Kelly.


ATLtiger07: What's going on with Nick Ruffin? I thought he showed some flashes last year but he's been pretty much invisible this year.

Right now it’s a matter of showing Travaris Robinson and Will Muschamp believing that he is ready to make the next step. He played a good bit when Tray Matthews was out, but you also have Tim Irvin and Blake Countess who can play safety as well. At this stage of the Tigers feel comfortable with the more experienced players.


freebird1: Would comment on how the 2016 football schedule is a good one or bad one for Auburn.

It would be difficult to have a better looking schedule than the one the Tigers get next season. Five consecutive home games to start the season is as much as you can ask for, I believe. You play week six at Mississippi State before an off week exactly in the middle of the season so it sets up well.


SAMFORDHALL: Do you recall if Gus has said he prefers 11:00 am or 6:00 pm kicks on away games. I seem to recall he said he likes to play early, but I could be wrong.

Most coaches will tell you they prefer to play early on the road to avoid sitting around the hotel all day. It also helps to keep the fans more subdued for the most part. I’m of the mind right now that home or away Auburn is better off playing night games and should start pulling an LSU and just play everything at night. The Tigers seem to play better after dark.


wcvet: what is your favorite Halloween game?  who was the opponent and what was the outcome?

My favorite Halloween game was against Florida in 1987. Emmitt Smith came in as the golden boy of college football and was stuffed all night long as Auburn beat the Gators 29-6. I’ll always remember T-shirts for that game that had “Nightmare at Jordan-Hare” on the front and “Boooo Gators” on the back.


adam36830: In your opinion do we make it to a bowl game?  If so, what bowl would you expect?

I still think this Auburn team is going to win one and maybe two more SEC games before the year is done. Combine that with a win over Idaho and I could see the Tigers in the TaxSlayer (Gator) Bowl or perhaps the Belk Bowl.


gtwstock: With the expectation of much more nickel this week, will there be a lot more Irvin at nickel and Countess at safety this week or do you see other options?  Do we let Treadwell pick his DB or do we try to match up Davis on him?

I think probably the best move is having Irvin at the nickel and maybe even Jeremiah Dinson. As for Treadwell, Ole Miss has so many good receivers I think you just have to play them straight up and take your chances. It is a very deep group for the Rebels.


Rick4AU: If you had to pick today, which 4 DT's do you think we have the best shot at landing?  Not who you think we want, but when it's all said and done, which ones do you think we end up with?

With the total number probably eight I think Tashawn Manning ends up at a defensive tackle before all is said and done. I believe the Tigers will get Antwuan Jackson so that’s two. If David Marshall signs with the Tigers he could eventually be a DT as well if he continues to get bigger, but if they could get either Rashan Gary or Derrick Brown it would be massive to the recruiting effort. The guy to watch may be juco Tyrell Chavis from juco. I think the Tigers would like to add a juco defensive tackle if possible.


aubtime: Do we have what you would call a ace pitcher for our softball team or will it be all of them like last year. I thought that a ace pitcher was all that team needed.

I’m still not sure Auburn has a true ace on the mound, but if the group makes as big of a stride in 2016 as it did in 2015 it will be good news for the Tigers. Rachael Walters, Marcy Harper and Lexi Davis should all be better this year and the two newcomers to the roster have pitched well. Coach Clint Myers says he feels very good about the pitchers. Davis, who was very good last season, has looked sharp this fall and could go into the season as Auburn's No. 1 pitcher.


m5guy: In your opinion who is most likely to make the other team "feel my pain" - Louis making Ole Miss feel it or Treadwell making us feel it?

It’s tough to bet against Treadwell after the game he had last year against the Tigers, but I’m a Ricardo Louis believer. He had a huge game against Kentucky and he’s definitely got another one of those in him. I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t have a big day against Ole Miss.

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